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Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission


Fritz!: “My verses are like dynamite” Curt Bloch’s Het Onderwater Cabaret Presentation by Aubrey Pomerance, Berlin (Germany)

Event details
Calendar   Speaking Engagements
Location Virtual online
Date Wed, Jul 10, 11:00am - 12:00pm
Duration   1h

Under threat from Nazi antisemitism, the young Jewish lawyer Curt Bloch (1908–1975) fled Dortmund for the Netherlands in 1933. He went into hiding there in 1942 and emigrated to the United States after the war. In his hiding place, from August 1943 to April 1945 Bloch produced a magazine with the telling title Het Onderwater Cabaret – “The Underwater Cabaret.”

Week by week, Curt Bloch created small-format booklets with artfully designed covers, containing a total of 483 handwritten poems in German and Dutch, embellished with artistic collages and photo montages. His cover designs and poems referred to political and military events, addressing his situation in hiding and the fate of his family. He unmasked Nazi propaganda with caustic irony and sardonic wit, yet always fully aware that the National Socialists were committing mass murder against the European Jews.

Curt Bloch preserved his unique legacy in his New York home for many decades. Through his daughter, Simone Bloch, it has come to the Jewish Museum Berlin, where it was shown to the public for the first time (February 9 – June 23, 2024). The unique work is a powerful testimony of creative resistance to war, disinformation, and persecution.

Aubrey Pomerance has directed the archives of the Jewish Museum Berlin, and the JMB branches of the archives of the Leo Baeck Institute New York and of the Wiener Holocaust Library, since 2001. He was born in Canada in 1959 and studied Jewish Studies and East and Southeast European History at the Free University of Berlin. In 1995/96, he became a research assistant at the Institute for Jewish Studies there. From 1996 to 2001, Aubrey Pomerance was a research assistant at the Salomon Ludwig Steinheim Institute for German-Jewish History in Duisburg. At the Jewish Museum Berlin, he curated the exhibitions Roman Vishniac’s Berlin, Ruth Jacobi: Photographs, and Shrines, Papyri, and Winged Goddesses: The Archaeologist Otto Rubensohn, and was also one of the curators of the JMB’s new core exhibition, which opened in 2020. He publishes on German-Jewish commemorative culture, Jewish lives during the Nazi era, Jewish photographers in Berlin, archives, and archival education.

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This event is part of the online series “Flight or Fight. stories of artists under repression” organized by The Fritz Ascher Society for Persecuted, Ostracized and Banned Art, New York.

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